Home » All Cars Sold In The U.S. Will Soon Have To Be Able To Automatically Avoid A Crash At 62MPH. Here’s Why That Could Be An Engineering Challenge

All Cars Sold In The U.S. Will Soon Have To Be Able To Automatically Avoid A Crash At 62MPH. Here’s Why That Could Be An Engineering Challenge

Aeb New Tests Ts
ADVERTISEMENT

New regulations for automatic emergency braking have been bandied about for years, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finally made them official this week. Come Sept. 1, 2029, almost all new cars sold in America must have automatic emergency braking that can come to a complete stop and avoid a stopped vehicle ahead from 62 mph. It’s an aggressive target, and while well-intentioned, it’s a challenge that comes with a few strange exemptions and potential pitfalls.

See, these rules won’t quite apply to all vehicles. Some vehicles will see delayed introductions, some vehicles are exempt, and some vehicles will have varying ways of disabling automatic emergency braking. First, low-volume manufacturers get an extra year, until Sept. 1, 2030, to implement this new tech.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Next, these regulations don’t apply to any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds. GMC Hummer EVs, certain heavy-duty pickup trucks, semi trucks, and basically anything with “Final Destination” levels of mass is exempt from these regulations. Finally, there both will and won’t be ways to defeat these future automatic emergency braking systems. I’ll let NHTSA explain.

NHTSA includes in this final rule an explicit prohibition against manufacturers installing a control designed for the sole purpose of deactivating the AEB system but allows for controls that have the ancillary effect of deactivating the AEB system (such as deactivating AEB if the driver has activated “tow mode” and the manufacturer has determined that AEB cannot perform safely while towing).

So, if you’re expecting a hard button to turn off automatic emergency braking, good luck, but such a function may be bundled into track mode on performance cars, towing mode on trucks, certain off-road modes on SUVs, low-range 4X4, or even disabling stability control.

At speeds of up to 62 mph, these next-generation automatic emergency braking systems must avoid a collision with a vehicle stopped on the roadway ahead. Sounds great, but it’s worth keeping in mind that braking distance is proportional to the square of the initial speed. Essentially, a car will need four times the distance to stop from 60 mph than it would from 30 mph, and given what we’ve seen from current automatic emergency braking systems, that will certainly present a challenge.

ADVERTISEMENT

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revised its automatic emergency braking testing to include a motorcycle and a semi-trailer, and to up speeds from 18 and 25 mph to 31, 37, and 43 mph. Four of the ten compact crossovers tested under the revised procedures scored the institute’s lowest rating of “Poor,” and the Chevrolet Equinox provides a textbook example. As per an IIHS media release: “With the passenger car target, it slowed modestly in the 31 mph tests, and with the motorcycle target it barely reduced speed at all.”

Note that “slowed modestly” doesn’t equal stopping. A number of systems on the market today fail testing at half the speed the new regulations, and these new regulations give automakers just over four years to get their systems up to speed. Unsurprisingly, automakers are unsure whether this is possible, but carmakers aren’t the only ones.

Bosch Aeb

Take automotive supplier Bosch, which has an interest in supplying automakers with better and more expensive sensor suites because that’s how money is made. In theory, this company should be all for stricter automatic emergency braking requirements, but during comment period, the firm raised some concerns. As per NHTSA:

ADVERTISEMENT

Bosch stated that its testing shows that when the speed reaches approximately 75 km/h, there are reproducibility challenges with multi-sensor fusion of the object in time to initiate AEB and avoid the obstruction, and considerations should be made on how these requirements align with current functional safety requirements.

Translation? Higher speeds affect the reliability of obstacle detection. Now, NHTSA has gone with a no-contact rule in testing under these new regulations, and the way to fudge for margin of error on that is to increase the envelope of what constitutes an automatic emergency braking event. However, phantom braking can be just as dangerous as not coming to a stop due to creating a speed delta, and NHTSA’s upcoming tests false positive braking events aren’t entirely confidence-inspiring.

Image (23)

One test involved driving between two parked cars, and that should be easy enough. Another involves driving over a steel trench plate, which is fairly standard by now. Note the absence of glare testing for camera-based systems; testing that incorporates lane shifting like in a construction zone; or testing for excessive sensitivity while following a vehicle. Oh, and did I mention that NHTSA’s phantom braking tests still allow some amount of braking of less than 0.25g higher peak deceleration than manual braking would entail? Again, not ideal.

Screenshot 2024 04 25 At 4.46.10 pm automatic emergency braking

Legislating stronger automatic emergency braking comes with great intentions, but it’s yet to be seen whether these beefed-up systems can function reliably and meet regulations. Given how long product stays on sale these days, 2029 may be less than one model cycle away for some vehicles, so automakers are likely already trying to crack this challenge. Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Photo credits: Bosch, IIHS)

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
84 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

Two immediate thoughts. First, I’m glad I have old analog cars. Second, their brakes are not great so I’ll probably rear end a new car that is phantom braking.

Seth Albaum
Seth Albaum
1 month ago

My 2019 [vehicle] recently had a freakout and emergency braked backing into a perfectly average and definitely empty parking spot. Was it a pebble? A shadow? I still don’t know. A few onlookers were confused and probably questioning my skills as a driver, if not my sanity. It was a hard stop.

I really hope that vehicles become better at detection before the technology becomes even more mainstream than it already is. Or, queue the recalls… so many recalls and lawsuits…

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 month ago

So, is performing an emergency stop not taught to US drivers?

Micah Cameron
Micah Cameron
1 month ago
Reply to  Phuzz

This depends on the state, but in PA, it is not! I think that is the rule more than the exception. Our driving tests are much, much too easy to pass.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Micah Cameron

Speak for yourself. I passed on the 5th attempt, and I attribute that solely to having a stranger/authority figure in the car with me.

That was ~11 years ago. I’ve had zero accidents or tickets since.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Phuzz

I’m pretty sure the idea is that an automated system will have better reaction times and broader perception than a human (motorcycles in blind spots, for example).

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago
Reply to  Phuzz

In general…nope

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
1 month ago

There’s one curve nearby with steep horizontal and vertical aspects. That curve never fails to activate my emergency frontal collision alarm, which then gives me a micro heart attack before I make the horizontal turn and clear the space in front of the sensor. It’s a slow-ish curve too, about 30 mph on a fast day.

Good luck to anyone trying to make 60-mph automatic emergency braking sensitive and accurate enough to make no false positives or negative errors.

4004
4004
1 month ago

I recently had an F40 1 series momentarily engage ABS-triggering braking as I was navigating a junction where lanes slide to the left, creating a parking lane (where cars were parked). Glad there wasn’t anyone behind.
Now, sensors and data processing will likely advance by 2029, but this requirement seems like trying to legally prohibit cars getting into accidents. Good luck with that

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
1 month ago

how on earth does this make sense if the heaviest (deadliest) vehicles are exempted. Especially now that you can buy 8000 lb pickups faster than a ’90s supercar.

John Beef
John Beef
1 month ago

My ’21 CRV has this, and I disable it twice every day, to and from work. I’ll be in stop and go traffic, going 7mph, and when the person in front of me slows down, the system will beep and flash “BRAKE” at me. <Seinfeld> Really? You think so? </Seinfeld> If I can’t disable it with a button on the dash like I do now, I’ll find another way, and it’ll be more permanent.

Norek Koss
Norek Koss
1 month ago
Reply to  John Beef

There is button in my Toyta rav4 Prime for use radar.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
1 month ago

As long as we’re ignoring reality, why not just require cars to never have an accident of any kind ever?

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

That’s the end goal, isn’t it? Let’s ask the ~43,000 people who died from traffic fatalities in the US in 2021 what they think.

Space
Space
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

That won’t work because they are dead.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
1 month ago

Like others have said this will achieve nothing, it will further raise the cost of new cars while giving those with the disposable income to buy them another reason to not pay proper attention.

Oh and I’m sure insurance will love all the “my braking system didn’t see it” claims..

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
1 month ago

The car I drive most is not new, It has all the safety systems that one would expect from a 1930’s super car. I occasionally offer lessons, sometimes court appointed for those who need to understand predicative driving techniques.

Jughandle
Jughandle
1 month ago

Can anyone just get in a car and drive. Bad enough cars dinging and ringing about everything.
Between car features and your phone its no wonder everyone is losing their minds. Constantly distracted from everything but the task at hand.
Sorry for the rant, but its just getting insufferable.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
1 month ago

Safety features are great and I’m glad that manufactures are required to have every car be up to a certain standard but I wonder with things like this where the line of diminishing returns starts. Automatic breaking is expensive to develop and will likely raise the price of the bottom end of the car spectrum yet again. So the question is, does the benefit outweigh the expense?

86-GL
86-GL
1 month ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

Idk, these features in their current form are already available standard on some very entry level vehicles, so I’d say that bridge has has already been crossed.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

> automatic breaking

Standard on most Italian and Jeep-brand vehicles since the 1970s

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago

Great, more safety measures to reward people for not paying attention. I anticipate this will cause more accidents than it prevents, because it’s not like every single car will be brand new with this feature, so you’ll have newer cars suddenly slamming their brakes in front of older cars.

I know a person that uses their automatic braking system as an everyday feature rather than as a last resort… they’re a menace to society in their large SUV.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago

I’d venture to say they’d be a menace in a Miata, if that’s how they drive.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer
1 month ago

Yeah, but a Miata has a lot less mass to it than a large SUV.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Speed Racer

Not when I’m in it!

🙁

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago
Reply to  Speed Racer

I agree that the Miata is less dangerous at low speed, but that’s apparently not how this person drives. Hit a pedestrian at 40 mph and then ask if they care whether it was an SUV or a sports car. Dead is dead.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

This is one more reason why new cars are too expensive.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

I remember decades ago people were picked for important government positions based on their knowledge and experience. Until people raised a fuss they were industry insiders. Now it seems they nominate ignorant people who donated alot of money to the party.
Note this is both parties so no political attacks are relevant.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I don’t know how many decades back you’re referring to, but since I started paying attention in the ’90s this has been a thing and people much older than me have told me it was not a new thing then.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Nah in the 70s and 80s most nominations did have candidates that were industry leaders. Not saying they weren’t toadies but at least they had industry knowledge.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Not to get political, but some agencies under some administrations still get headed by insiders. Dave Zatezalo at Mine Safey and Health, nominated by Trump, comes to mind…dude was well known for flouting safety regulations at the mines he ran.

There’s a happy medium somewhere, and it is neither political hacks nor industry hacks.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago

Well, I can only hope that the technology is better in 2029 than it was in 2019, but I’m not optimistic. My 2019 Mercedes doesn’t have automatic braking, but it does beep at me incessantly when I’m going around a tight turn with a wall on the outside. Sometimes even a dark shadow is enough to set it off. With AEB, it would be slamming on the brakes, probably causing accidents.

Jambles Hamblepants
Jambles Hamblepants
1 month ago

Mine (2023 integra 6mt) engaged in a similar situation getting on the ferry last weekend. Sharpish left turn up a very steep incline with a wall just to the side. Woke me right up. Curiously I was able to drive right through it, thankfully not getting stopped on the ramp with the car behind me against my bumper. I guess it was only locking up the rear brakes.

Technosaur
Technosaur
1 month ago

Here’s hoping the technology gets better. I have had more false positives in my 2017 330i wagon than I can count. I have never had a correct positive (thankfully), although based on its accuracy to date I have no faith it would work if I needed it. I firmly believe this tech enables bad behavior in distracted driving while also making the car more dangerous for attentive drivers via phantom braking. The car would be safer without it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Technosaur
SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
1 month ago
Reply to  Technosaur

Same with my 2018 Mazda 3. No outright phantom braking yet, but the technology does not seem to understand that if I am engine braking in 2nd at 15 mph I do see the car ahead that is turning right and am ready to stop if I need to, and it’s damn near got me ass-ended twice this way.

James Carson
James Carson
1 month ago
Reply to  SirRaoulDuke

Most of the errors my 2018 Accord emits about lanes and following are easy to deal with. The concerning ones to me are its irrational fear of large white semis, trucks and snowbanks. It has applied the brakes in the middle of perfectly safe four lane passing situatuons when it detects a largish truck or semi.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 month ago

Just throw us in personal transportation pods already. God forbid we have to actually operate our own motor vehicles and exercise responsibility.

Scottingham
Scottingham
1 month ago

Maybe I’ll be able to get back on public roads with a motorcycle in the 2030s.

It’s the idiots in other cars that made me hang up my boots.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago
Reply to  Scottingham

Even if it stops people from running into you head on, it’s not going to stop idiots from pulling out in front of you or changing lanes into you. Any safety increase will also likely be offset by malfunctioning systems and people paying less attention than they do now.

Scottingham
Scottingham
1 month ago

You’re probably right. Maybe when most cars are level 4+ autonomous I can get back on the roads. Until then, I guess it’s sleeper e bikes and dreams of rokons for me.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Good point on most roads people follow close enough to create warnings. Will these vehicles be able to differentiate between close moving vehicles and stopped vehicles?

Sam Hoffman
Sam Hoffman
1 month ago

Is this yet another nail in the coffin of the manual transmission?

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Hoffman

Possibly. It’s notable that the 2024 Subaru WRX and BRZ with manual transmission are equipped with the Eyesight safety system for the 2024 model year. Previously, Eyesight was not available on manual transmission equipped vehicles.

Sam Hoffman
Sam Hoffman
1 month ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Do those have automatic braking? It seems to me that the car would either have to have a clutch override or just kill the engine, both of which could be problematic.

Jambles Hamblepants
Jambles Hamblepants
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Hoffman

My integra 6mt has it, so no. It engages too easily. See my comment above though. I was able to ignore it when it incorrectly engaged last weekend.

JTilla
JTilla
1 month ago

Can you turn it off?

Jambles Hamblepants
Jambles Hamblepants
1 month ago
Reply to  JTilla

Yeah, but you have to do it every time you turn on the car.

JTilla
JTilla
1 month ago

Uggh that is awful. At least our outback has it so you can just turn it off for good.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Hoffman

Nope just keep the old stuff running, they are more fun and use the 20 year old rule to import them.

Patrick
Patrick
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Hoffman

Nah, my manual GTI has it. Phantom braked once in 5 years (good ratio I guess, but scary AF when you don’t expect it. Luckily noone was following me) Basically stalls, just need to restart. That said, the nails are already firmly in the coffin regardless

TheCrank
TheCrank
1 month ago

Spring and summer of 2029 should be good for new car sales.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
1 month ago

I wish we could post memes.

Insert Oprah handing out “Phantom Braking for All!” gif.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

This strikes me as well-intentioned but not ideal.

How will it handle dirty or icy sensors? Or for that matter an icy road? Slamming on the brakes at full power could be the opposite of what’s needed there.

86-GL
86-GL
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I would guess much the same as vehicles currently do. If there is dirt or snow on any of the sensors on our 2021 F150, it gives you a warning that the feature is inactive, which you must hit ‘OK’ on the steering wheel to accept. Seems reasonable.

Given that this will functionally still be an advanced ADAS feature- with the driver assumed to be in legal control of the vehicle- I would imagine there will be some regulatory tolerance for the system not functioning in adverse conditions. Especially if they’re already willing to make allowances for towing, driving modes, etc.

Provided these systems are engineered to be reasonable in their functionality and not cause new safety issues, this is one situation where I am okay with not letting perfect be the enemy of good, unlike true autonomy. Even if this improved AEB is only 50% effective in the real world, it could still save a lot of collisions.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  86-GL

The situation I’m concerned with is a false positive (an unnecessary braking event) and any circumstance that could allow that to happen.

I’m not usually a Luddite, in fact I usually enjoy laughing at the most extreme examples of that tendency in this comment section. I’m a bit more concerned at the ability of the car to take control *in spite* of driver action here. Even self-driving has to be actively turned on.

86-GL
86-GL
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I agree, I would hope the systems are tuned on the conservative side to eliminate false positives.

I think the systems will have to be lenient- I’m no lawyer, but AEB failing to stop a collision that *would have happened anyways* due to justifiable circumstances seems more legally defensible than over zealous AEB causing an unnecessary collision.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Or a bug right before it slams into a sensor.
“40 car pile upon the Tri Boro Bridge tonite due to a dragonfly being mistaken for a UPS truck” alas Doug can’t get home to Carrie tonite.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Or disable the vehicle, preventing it from moving until the sensors are clear? How would you be able to drive in snow/ice?

My 0.02 Cents
My 0.02 Cents
1 month ago
Reply to  Speed Racer

Heated sensors, with spray cleaners like headlight washers on some cars.
There’s a engineering solution to most problems, it just takes time and money to figure them out.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago

Mandatory for everything except giant fucking SUVs and pickups. Nicely done.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

The Hummer EV and Hummer H1 are the only SUVs ever made that wouldn’t fall under this requirement.

>10K GVWR is HD trucks only.

JTilla
JTilla
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

For now.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
1 month ago

Weird that they’re specifying 62 MPH, which is 100 km/h. Is this all a secret plot to turn the US metric?? (Oh please oh please)

Robert M. Graham
Robert M. Graham
1 month ago

My first thought exactly! I’m still wondering where the metric system we were promised in the ’60s went!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago

It went to Canada to Dodge the draft and never came back

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

Meters, grams, and liters are fine (if I have to) but hands off my Fahrenheit!

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous
Cool Dave
Cool Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Why draw that line? Is water freezing at 0 and boiling at 100 too easy?

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

The normal human use of temperature is weather, not the phases of water. Once past high school science, I’ve never measured the temperature of boiling water in my life.

0-100 being the normal range of temperatures most human beings experience in their weather provides a more useful spread than -18-40 or whatever.

“It’s going to be in the 70s F outside” is a more useful statement for understanding weather conditions than “It’s going to be in the 20s C”. 20 might be jacket weather, 29 is shorts and a tank top.

Finally, I loathe decimal places in my temperature measurements. With each C degree being nearly twice the size of an F degree, you need to use 0.5 or lose the precision.

Last edited 1 month ago by V10omous
Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I could respect Fahrenheit as a temperature scale if 100 was human body temperature, which it isn’t, and zero was something useful rather than the freezing point of a particular mix of antifreeze.

Centigrade has zero as freezing of water, which is very handy if you live where the roads can be occasionally icy. Weather changes quite a lot either side of zero Degrees C.

I really like the temperature scale they use in the north of England, it’s digital: coat or no coat.

James Carson
James Carson
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

They wave all ten digits frantically in front of them stating I ain’t going out there.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

My only beef there is that you’ve got either “negative” (3 syllables) or “minus” (two syllables) to slap in for temperatures that are very common in winter in my neck of the woods.

Negative Fahrenheit temperatures obviously happen, even here at times, but they’re much more of an “event”.

If giving up Fahrenheit was the cost of switching everything else to metric in the US, I’d still switch to metric, but I do agree with V10omous’ reasoning.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

You’re worried about the syllable count? Gosh.

When we hear a “minus” before a temperature we know it’s going to be icy. We don’t even need to know the actual temperature.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I mean, if I hear “minus” (F°) and am going to be outside for more than seconds between a house and my car, I know I need my balaclava, boots, and thermal socks.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

So the syllable count is only a problem when it’s freezing but not yet properly cold?

Maybe you should use Kelvin. It’s an optimistic scale: it’s always positive.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 month ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

The concept I like is:
Farenheit is how humans experience temperature.
Celsius is how water experiences temperature.
Kelvin is how the atoms experiences temperature.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Knowonelse

And Rankine is for a special breed of nerds.

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

I was just about to congratulate the NHTSA on adopting the metric system.

Goof
Goof
1 month ago

The best defense is to just create your own measurement system, then no one can take it away from you.

For example, today the temperature was a high of 672 Goofs. Lovely spring day!

Jacob Rippey
Jacob Rippey
1 month ago

Having driven a car with a poorly calibrated auto brake (2020 Nissan Rogue work car), I can’t imagine having to live with auto brakes fulltime. The car would randomly slam the brakes with no warning and no actual hazards present. It’s a turn off for a car to be equipped with IMO.

Sam Hoffman
Sam Hoffman
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacob Rippey

You probably can disable it with a sticker over the camera lens.

84
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x